Coverfox: Making Insurance Procedure Swift and Tech-savvy

Coverfox Insurance Broking Pvt. Ltd | John Mayn | Executive Director
Coverfox Insurance Broking Pvt. Ltd | John Mayn | Executive Director

A decade ago, customers in India who took insurance policies were facing serious issues. This was because of a lack of proper information on insurance products as mis-selling was gaining pace rapidly. In the last decade, during the period 2000 to 2008, as the country was gaining traction and growing economically tremendously, the Indian Insurance Industry tightened its grip. There was a complete disruption of the private sector insurers venturing and gaining importance in the country then.

They got a taste of the cutthroat competition during times when only a few large public sector insurers controlled the insurance. Starting of this new digital era saw the proliferation of new insurance products and relevant information. It promoted the unbridled growth of the insurance industry in India.

This is when the concept of selling insurance online came into existence with few other market players in the industry. It was to navigate the possibilities in offering easy insurance to the customers. That is when Coverfox, a Mumbai-based InsurTech platform, was founded in 2013 with a vision to ‘Make Insurance Simple’ and take the opportunity to comprehend the possibilities arising in the Indian Insurance Ecosystem.

In an exclusive interview with Insights Success, John Mayne, Executive Director of Coverfox, tells us about the company’s journey. He also gives insights into the insurance tech industry.

Following are the highlights of the interview:

Please describe to us about Coverfox in detail.

We offer effortless, quick, and unperturbed online insurance broking services, having collaborated with more than 50+ insurance providers that offer the top policies and plans at the possible paramount premiums. Our service platter caters to Motor, Health, and Term insurance products currently.

Varun Dua and Devendra Rane founded the company. Currently, we are under the leadership and vision of great industry veterans like Sanjib Jha, John Mayne, and Piyush Ranjan. We have reinvented ourselves completely under their leadership. We offer to compare and select from different insurers with advice on best coverage based on their requirements for multiple products and claims assistance. It is run by its parent company, Glitterbug Technologies, a tech organization.

What made you venture into the Insurance Tech Sector?

With the advent of many insurances and tech platform players, we had a clear vision to ‘Make Insurance Simple’ for our buyers. In today’s era, the liberalisation of technology has significantly shifted from traditional policy covers to digitalisation of Insurtech. As a result of this evolution, we have seen some major players like ourselves and other players in the market come into existence with an aim to get India insured and empowered by amalgamating the three most essential aspects – tech, ease, and accessibility.

The Insurtech companies, thus, are now providing a wide range of choices to the consumers giving them an opportunity to filter out the best policy as per their income brackets, insurance needs, policy benefits, etc.

We at Coverfox try to understand the market gaps arising in the Indian healthcare insurance ecosystem. In integration with data science and machine learning tools, the cloud-native platform recommends the best policies to customers and paves a smooth way for them to make decisions accordingly. Insurance has evolved into Insurtech 2.0, which is redefining the entire insurance landscape.

What kind of offerings do you provide to your clients?

The prime objective of Coverfox is to create a seamless experience for our customers through our different platforms and have an automated insurance experience for the initial buyers, the next rising generation, and India’s other demographic areas like the rural ones.

We enable every customer to compare and select from various insurers with advisory on unsurpassed coverage matching their requirements from the helm of products and claims assistance. Our service platter offers motor (both personal and commercial vehicles such as taxi and GCV- Goods Carrying Vehicle), health insurance, term life insurance, travel insurance, corona kavach, super top-up, personal accident insurance, critical illness cover, and ULIP insurance products on our platform.

We are a fully cloud-native platform that empowers modern application development using complex technologies and have a microservices-based backend. The technology allows creating new products and unification with negligible intervention.

What kind of challenges have you faced while entering the Insurance Tech Sector?

The insurance companies made huge profits when the policies were surrendered, and the insurance industry was looked down upon as they were not very customer-centric. Hence, it was all about going beyond the spectrum. It was about making easy accessibility for the customers to have a seamless experience when they buy an insurance product.

For decades, insurance has been sold as a push product by agents in India. The use of exceptional data and advanced analytics have helped to create a bridge between the behavioural characteristics of customers and their spending habits – true fodder for machine learning models. We started as a pure call centre selling insurance products assisting the customers in purchasing the insurance products. Later, we developed it into a fully equipped insurance aggregator.

In the early days, we moved our call centre to a completely online model, and it helped us keep the lights on. Since then, we have managed to make everything fully ready for the online world. We built flows to make telemedical, video-based, or e-medical flows for health and term flows.

We have increased effort on the product side to move into a fully digital sales model, which minimizes call centre effort. Be it chatbots, AI-based voice bots, Machine Learning based document scanning, end-to-end digital flows, lead scoring, etc. We also released an app to make it seamless for users to buy insurance. We do not call customers who reach out to us on the app. We already have 100K installs on the app with upwards of one crore of business since launch, which was four months ago.

How was Coverfox affected in these pandemic times? What steps did you take to curb the damages while helping your clients and maintaining the safety of your employees, all the time?

Insurance as a sector was not entirely impacted. In fact, it brought awareness about health plans. Our journey during the pandemic has been a smooth sail. It has weathered the Covid storm very well. As per the government guidelines, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we were prepared to move to digital and online ways of following procedures from the beginning itself.

We were also committed to the safety and health of our employees, keeping in mind the precautionary measures that the government declared.

We took measures like shifting the entire call centre and the rest of the employees to work from home. Especially the challenge was to shift the calling lines, and dialler, etc. However, we did it with the help of cloud technology. We had arranged a vaccination drive for our employees and their families. We continued to maintain less than 50% occupancy in the office premises throughout the work-from-office scenario.

Our main aim was to maintain sanitation procedures, health screenings, self-reporting of symptoms by employees, contact tracing, temperature screening at worksite entry, and restricted travel for non-employees onsite. The group insurance that included health plans for every employee had COVID safety benefits. We ensured to keep our employee safety on priority.

What would you like to advise the young generation of entrepreneurs and enthusiasts who want to venture into the Insurance Tech Sector?

Today the era is digital, and we need to unbundle insurance presently. The insurtech players are reimagining the underpenetrated sector for a complete digital makeover providing 360-degree support for its buyers to purchase the policies. The final frontier for insurance innovation is to supplement the basic insurance approach.

There is ample scope for the development and extreme growth in the insurance industry. There is a complete shift in the thought process of the budding customers, competitors, and other market players that are challenging the old business models and their existence. With the advent of this evolution, the insurers are already trying to adapt to the changes in the insurance ecosystem. Typically, the customers need three essential folds – transparencies, speed, and a hassle-free claim settlement without having to run behind the insurance agents.

Where do you envision Coverfox in the long run, and what are your future goals? How do you plan to embrace the changes happening in the Insurance Tech Sector?

We have stood tall, bearing all the seasons with many challenges in the past, and our core team is trying spectacularly to strengthen and leverage advanced tech. We want to reimagine an insurance eco-space from assisted to non-assisted model, independent of call centres, building a one-stop solution for all insurance needs for the ease of the customers.

The key thing we want to practice for the future is – ‘Making Insurance Simple’. Helping and guiding customers understand insurance more seamlessly than ever by providing compelling content on our platform, sharing video guides, decoding the insurance jargon through informational blogs and newsletters, chatbots and voice bots, and online forums. We want to evaluate, choose, and purchase. We are capacitating our customers and sharing all the necessary information to help them make an informed choice. They can also purchase within seconds through robust product journeys and end-to-end online flows on app and web portals. Smart recommendations and easy automation: A deep learning model to recommend the best plan basis customer needs and demographics.

Choosing from the trusted Coverfox platform (both app and web) where the AI-led intuitive UI/UX may help users make an informed insurance purchase within minutes. The company is on a very sound footing now. We have gross margin profitability on all product lines, and we would like to continue always moving with this profitability on our radar.

Diversification into new market – Our current and future roadmap also has embedded insurance use cases that can become the gold standard for the future path forward for insurance. Making it easy for customers to visualize the simplicity of providing an integrated experience will reduce sales cycles with large-scale distributors.

Outlook towards the evolving insurance ecosystem – Embedded insurance is a big play towards this. It will allow us to co-create new insurance products with insurance companies and be embedded in many workflows, reducing buying friction and increasing product-market fit. These products would be digitally native and would be super easy to sell online or in a paperless world. It would also allow legacy insurance companies to compete with the new-age digital companies.

We have braced ourselves for the complete technology shift. Currently, the industry is experiencing the change, and our long-term focused plan is to get India insured and empowered by building at the intersection of tech, ease, and access. The growth protuberance for the Indian insurance ecosystem looks to have a lot of potential. However, this scale will be unlocked and unbundled through Insurtech innovations. We are working on the need-gap of our customers, making it 10x easier for easy insurance purchase. We would want to disrupt the insurance industry by making it a seamless experience for the customers. We want it seamless from an assisted model to a non-assisted one, where the customer will be able to buy insurance products independently.

An Exemplifying Leader

John Mayne is an insurance industry veteran and a senior professional. He brings in more than 27 years of experience and has spanned his working career across the myriad insurance, banking, and micro-finance sectors. He has successfully run large profit centres and SBUs across various business lines in India and Africa.

He has been responsible for developing strategic plans for business growth, start-ups, infrastructure development, market expansion, product development, and launches. He has successfully led large teams of diverse employees and has a proven track record in building franchises, delivering business results, and general management.

He brings extensive experience across products in Insurance, Retail Banking, Micro Finance, Pension, and Asset Management. He has always been a strategic thinker with an analytical bend of mind and strong execution bias. He possesses very strong communication skills and people management abilities.

He has the opportunity and exposure to understand the financial services marketplace and environment across India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and West Africa. Currently, he is in the leadership team of Coverfox, being appointed as the Executive Director. He has donned many hats in his professional career and continues to do so.

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